Guidebook outlines ethical obligations for judicial candidates and judges

An ethics guidebook is now available from the State Bar of Michigan’s Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics to assist judicial candidates and judges navigating the complexities of judicial campaigns and judicial appointments.

Published in March 2024, “The Ethical Standards for Becoming a Judge” guidebook serves as a comprehensive resource for judicial candidates, offering practical guidance and ethical principles essential for maintaining the highest standards of judicial conduct. It fills a crucial gap by providing assistance to judicial candidates to ethically transition from election season to assuming the bench.

The guidebook draws from the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct and the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct to assess various aspects of judicial ethics including candidate eligibility, filing procedures, campaign committees, fundraising regulations, and permissible campaign activities. It also highlights the importance of maintaining integrity, avoiding impropriety, and refraining from political activities inappropriate to judicial office.

Additional topics include endorsements, campaign advertising, and social media usage as well as the responsibilities of judges’ and judicial candidates’ family members, employees, and campaign workers. It also addresses post-election considerations, such as the disposition of campaign funds, winding up law practices, and ethical obligations upon assuming judicial duties.

To view the guidebook, visit